Craig Smith, Will He or Won’t He Turn Professional?

With all of the recent additions to Milwaukee Admirals lineup, anther potential fresh face who could be joining the Western Conference’s first place club is Madison native Craig Smith, who recently finished his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin.

In 2010-2011 Smith had a breakout year as a power forward with the Badgers, scoring 19 goals and 43 points, while spending 82 minutes in the penalty box.  Soon after the season the Wisconsin State Journal’s Andy Baggot reported that Smith would likely return to Wisconsin for his junior season.  However, unlike teammate Justin Schultz, Smith’s decision to return has yet to be an emphatic one.

Badgers coach Mike Eaves would like to see Smith (Nashville’s fourth-round draft pick in 2009) hone his game for at least one more year in Madison.

“From a hockey standpoint, Craig has a lot of natural physical gifts,” Eaves said. “But what he could improve on with one more year of college hockey is to become a more a cerebral player, enhance his understanding of game and gain the confidence he needs to be successful at the next level.”

Eaves would like to see Smith expand upon the progress he’s already made at the U.W.

“He’s become a lot smarter player, who is a lot more effective away from the puck, (especially as) one of our primary penalty killers,” Eaves said.  “We moved him to center this year because that position has a lot more responsibilities down low in our zone and we’ve seen great growth from him in those areas.  We fully expect that to keep going next year.”

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